The rhythm of information has acquired dramatic levels, being on many occasions continuously updated or at least that is what we believe. In a study carried out by Jorge Bucay for the Grant Thornton firm, it was established that a human being who connects to the Internet is exposed daily to a volume of information equivalent to 174 newspapers, of 85 pages each. The oversupply of information is overwhelming.
What should also be noted is that the information that we receive every day is not necessarily quality information, or training. In reality, basically and for the most part, it is composed of irrelevant and insignificant data: the change of status of someone on Facebook or the advertising of someone who has written a text with a wonderful trick.
“The true genius has the ability to evaluate uncertain, random, and contradictory information.”
Still, we seem more and more willing to consume all that information in one gulp. Anxiety has begun to appear in many people, when they remain “disconnected” for some time. It seems to them as if they are missing out on the world when they are constantly out of date, as if they are isolated from what is going on, although most of the time nothing happens that they would really qualify as interesting.
Updated or infoxicated?
The term “infoxication” has been coined to describe that circumstance in which a person accesses an overload of information that, finally, they cannot process. This condition is also called “infobesity” to make a parallel with the intake of low-value products, which only add volume.
The phenomenon has had a gradual increase. Just over a century ago, only genuinely relevant information made it to a newspaper or publishing house. But with the invention of radio and television, there was also the need to generate more and more information, even on nondescript or unimportant aspects. The only thing that mattered was progressively filling the time allocated to the broadcasts.
The Internet was a revolution in this regard. In its beginnings, it was the academic and governmental institutions that mostly generated content for the network. But over time the publication mechanisms were simplified and currently anyone can publish all kinds of content, without any limit. And we all want to be updated.
Hence, most of the information circulating on the Internet can be classified as “junk information”. You can’t open a page and pop-up windows already appear where they offer you everything from disinfectants to porn experiences. They invade you with viral videos, news about the cap that Justin Bieber used this morning, or the appearance of a UFO in a remote part of Albania. Everything fits on the net.
Escape the informational burden
Never like now have we had the opportunity to access valuable information, be updated anywhere on the planet and in real time. If you want, you can enter the NASA page and witness the latest space explorations.
You also have the possibility to witness live a Chomsky lecture or a public intervention by the Dalai Lama. The problem is that the selectivity criterion is being lost and you easily end up spending your time accessing data that matters very little.
You often go online to “see what’s up” and when you least realize it, several hours have passed. You take stock and notice that in practice you have not done anything, you have not updated yourself in something worthwhile, nor have you learned anything. You have only “passed the time” and, incidentally, you already feel visual or postural fatigue.
The secret to avoiding ” infoxication ” is to learn to “cure” the content you access. You achieve this when you make your true interests aware when accessing the network. Do you want to entertain yourself? Then identify what type of content you find entertaining and allocate a specific time to access it. Do you want to be aware of what is happening in the world? Then select the best newspapers and subscribe to them.
A person is “infoxicated” when they experience a feeling of overwhelm and anguish when connecting or not connecting. Also when you get into the habit of having 20 windows open at the same time and quickly go from one to the other, in a frenzy.
Another sign of infoxication is that you cannot read a complete text, but that you stay with the headline or jump from one paragraph to another and are more concerned with sharing the content than knowing it. If you have these “symptoms”, it is time to analyze what happens. Sometimes, we are not updated, but infoxicated …
Is it more productive to be happy?
It is said that to find happiness we must find happiness at work. The truth is that the person who, for one reason or another, is happy doing his job has more reasons to continue being so in other areas of his life.
Images courtesy of Pawel Kuczynski